Our Policy Priorities

American Farmland Trust and Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) work to advance policies that help bring more New York grown food into schools and other institutions.

Act Now: We have an important opportunity this year to get more New York grown and raised food on the plate for our students in K-12 schools! Write your state representatives with our customizable letter, or call your State Senator or Assemblymember directly to urge their support for Farm to School in the New York state budget!

This year we have 3 asks for state leaders:

  1. Maintain $10 million for 30% NY Farm to School Reimbursement Incentive and expand to ALL school meals. 
  2. Change the 30% bill language from "not to exceed 25 cents per meal," to "an additional 25 cents per meal," so that it coincides with other child nutrition programs.
  3. Maintain funding for the New York State Farm to School Grants Program at $1.5 million.

New York Grown Food for New York Kids

Coordinated by American Farmland Trust, New York Grown Food for New York Kids is a coalition of nearly 70 organizations and stakeholders who support increasing access to fresh, healthy, local food for students in K-12 schools. Farm to School is a win-win, improving the health of our children and supporting New York farmers!

Our Research

American Farmland Trust's “Growing Resilience” 2020 report revealed that in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, schools have remained committed to farm to school, and with continued state support, by 2025 these programs can help schools spend $250 million on food from New York farms, generating $360 million in economic activity statewide. These programs will also increase access to healthy, farm-fresh food for 900,000 kids across the state by 2025. At a time when many children face food insecurity and schools have become a primary source of free meals for many hungry New York families, helping schools to purchase and serve more fresh local food to kids is an important way to keep them healthy. 

The 30% NYS Initiative: Designing Opportunities for Access, Equity, and Economic Impact in New York’s Farm to School Incentive Program: In 2018, New York State established the 30% New York State Initiative for Farm to School, a local food purchasing incentive program to encourage schools to buy more food from New York farms. Over the past five years of the program, participation appears to have stagnated; less than 10 percent of New York School Food Authorities (SFAs) have qualified for the initiative since its establishment, and less than a third of the program’s $10 million budget is dispersed each year. This report, developed by American Farmland Trust with National Farm to School Network, digs into the accessibility challenges hindering schools from utilizing the program and offers policy solutions to unlock the Initiative’s potential to feed students healthy, local food and strengthen local farm economies. Read the report here.

Young child drinks chocolate milk, Eat Local sticker on his forehead.

Farm to School Advocacy Toolkit

Anyone can be an advocate for feeding kids more local, nutritious food through farm to school.

Learn how in our Farm to School Advocacy Toolkit